SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) ˗ Governor Cuomo’s new bail reform policy is raising a few eyebrows amid his counterparts.
Amongst those with mix feelings is Onondaga County’s District Attorney, William Fitzpatrick, who says this is already a policy he has implemented within his office, but making it mandatory creates major loopholes.
“Just taking away the discretion from judges, per se … I don’t think is a good idea,” Fitzpatrick said.
The new bill will make it mandatory for courts to release criminals that commit misdemeanors or non-violent felonies before pretrial without bail.
For Fitzpartick, the solution is in discovering what personal factors may have caused the individual to commit the crime.
“Is it an alcohol problem? Is it a substance abuse problem? Is it an emotional problem? Is it a vet coming back from these crazy wars we send kids through in the Middle East suffering from PTSD? So I’ve tried to develop a system where we try to identify those problems and get the person help.”
Fitzpatrick is also concerned that violent felons may slip through the cracks of the system, and pose a serious threat to the community.
“I worry about it,” he said. “I worry about releasing some violent people … So, I hope it doesn’t effect public safety, but I’m afraid it will.”
Although non-violent felons will be released, Fitzpatrick warns that any offense can still remain on a person’s record, and will effect employment and housing opportunities.
The bill will take effect January of 2020.